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What to Do After an Accident With a Drunk Driver

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Posted on January 15, 2024

Drunk drivers cause thousands of automobile accidents in Florida every year. In 2022, 5,746 impaired-driver car accidents were reported. If you get involved in a car accident with a drunk driver in Tampa, you need to know what to do to protect your rights. Responsibility for the accident may seem obvious, but this does not necessarily mean the insurance process will be easy. You may need to contact a drunk driving accident attorney in Tampa for legal help.

Remain Calm and Check for Injuries

Your health and safety are the top priorities after a drunk driving accident in Tampa. Pull over in a safe location and check yourself for injuries. When it is safe to do so, exit your vehicle to see if others involved in the crash have been injured. If there are injuries, request paramedics when you call 911 to report the drunk driving accident. It is important to always report an accident when you suspect a drunk driver, even if the crash appears minor.

Talk to the Police

When the police arrive at the scene, get your side of the story on record. Do not admit any fault for the accident. Explain why you believe the other driver is intoxicated or under the influence. The police may conduct a breathalyzer test and arrest the driver on suspicion of drunk driving, if appropriate. All of this will be included on the police accident report to serve as evidence during your claim later.

Gather Evidence and Information

Strengthen your car insurance claim by capturing and collecting evidence while you are still at the scene of a drunk driving accident. Take photographs and look for nearby surveillance cameras. Write down the names of everyone involved, including the intoxicated driver and any passengers.

Once you have received medical care, request copies of your medical records and bills to document your injuries and treatment costs. You should also consider keeping an injury journal, where you record daily entries of how you are feeling and how your injuries are healing. This can help a jury understand how much the crash and your related injuries have impacted you.

File a Car Insurance Claim

Florida is a no-fault car insurance state. Under this law, drivers file claims with their own car insurance companies after most vehicle collisions, regardless of fault. However, there is an exception for injuries that meet the state’s tort threshold. In general, if you or a loved one suffered a serious, catastrophic or permanent injury, you will have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

If you can file a claim with another driver’s insurance carrier, you will need to prove that he or she is at fault to receive a financial payout. This may require evidence such as the results of blood or breath alcohol tests, witness statements, testimony from police officers, police bodycam footage, a DUI conviction in the Tampa criminal courts, and opinions from drunk driving accident experts.

Contact an Attorney

A drunk driving accident case may not be as simple as you initially think. Even if there is evidence proving the other driver was drunk, you may have to navigate complicated legal issues to recover fair compensation. You may have a dram shop case, for example, which is a claim against an establishment for serving the intoxicated driver alcohol. You may also have to contend with bad-faith insurance practices, such as a wrongfully denied claim.

The best way to seek fair financial compensation for a drunk driving crash in Tampa is by contacting an experienced Tampa car accident attorney. An attorney can take over crash investigation, evidence collection and insurance settlement negotiations on your behalf. Although most drunk driving cases reach settlements, an attorney can also take your case to trial, if necessary. Call Vanguard Attorneys at (813) 680-2007 for a free drunk driving accident case review.